June 20, 2023
Jonathan Papp, Artistic Director

Remembering Corradina

Corradina Caporello, legendary Italian language coach and longtime faculty member and advisor to the Accademia, passed away earlier in June.

Where do I begin in describing both the loss that I feel at Corradina‘s death, and the extraordinary impact this amazing lady had upon me and so many others? She was an inspiring pedagogue, with a huge heart and huge knowledge that she so generously shared with us.

I still remember meeting Corradina and being struck by the elegance of this lady that I was introduced to for the first time. She had a huge smile and radiated warmth from the outset, always so elegantly dressed and wearing some very particular and outstanding pieces of jewellery. She had a way of speaking that was so close to laughing and smiling all the time, and wonderfully inflected with a strong Italian accent, which never diminished. 

This was on Ischia back in the 90s, at the Walton foundation, and we immediately struck up a friendship. Corradina told me that 'we shall make wonderful work together' and how much she was looking forward to hearing me play. At the time, the Walton foundation took Italian singers and singers from the UK (always very mixed in nationalities) and together we would put on an opera for which I was the orchestra. This was the very beginning of my professional life. I had no Italian. 

During those first weeks together I learned about the Castel books that she was still working on with Nico. These books are the ultimate guide to the translation, pronunciation, and synopses of Italian opera libretti. She carefully explained to me how best to use them, and the discussions that she and Nico had over pronunciation. Corradina brooked no disagreement with the dictionary. Ever. She taught me about this field of Italian diction, the study of which was her life’s pursuit. Since then, I continued to learn from her and apply this knowledge in almost every coaching.

As the friendship grew over the decades, I would visit her at any possible opportunity in NYC. She always delighted in remembering that I had promised her that when I set up my own program, she would be the language coach. Sure enough, that came to pass with the Georg Solti Accademia, of which she was such a fundamental part, both in terms of her vast knowledge and education, as well as having a wonderful, wonderful old soul. Her encouragement with this project was everything. Corradina nurtured. She nurtured ALL of us.

Over the years, that friendship grew, and like so many people I got to know Maurice, and to understand the extraordinary love affair that they enjoyed and continued to have to the end of his days. As soon as Maurice was dying, I was afraid Corradina would also be going. I last visited her twice on Long Island; once to see Maurice, right at the end, and then again just as she was packing to move to be near her son. When we said goodbye, I had a horrible feeling that could well be the very last time. Over these final difficult years for both of us, we were in touch even more, and the friendship deepened.

Like so many of the other tributes, I cannot begin to express the impact that this lady had on my learning life and my teaching life, and consequently how often I think of her every day as I go about my work, often passing on what she taught me. Even in the most modest way, I can only hope I even begin to touch on the ‘’how she taught “

This is a lady who touched so many lives and careers in such a wonderfully deep and positive way, all around the world. Corradina, I love you, we love you, and we shall always have you as part of the family that is the Georg Solti Accademia, and we will always strive to honour your memory and your teaching to the very end.

-Jonathan Papp